Producing safe eggs at home

This advice is intended for egg producers in Victoria who keep fewer than 50 birds (chickens, ducks or quail) and sell or give away eggs for human consumption. It'll help you to understand how to produce safe eggs and meet your legal obligations.

If you have 50 or more birds, see Food safety for egg producers or call our Customer Service Centre on 136 186 for information on your legal obligations.

Managing the hazards in egg production

As an egg producer, you're responsible for managing the food safety hazards that arise from the time eggs are laid until they leave your control. Proper egg production and handling will help make sure your eggs are safe for human consumption.

You're responsible for complying with the production and processing standards for eggs and egg products set by Food Standards Australia New Zealand in 2012. To do this:

  • look after the health and hygiene of your birds
  • collect eggs soon after laying
  • handle and clean eggs carefully
  • check eggs for faults
  • never sell or give away cracked or dirty eggs
  • package and label your eggs properly
  • store and transport your eggs safely.

Your legal responsibilities when selling eggs

If you sell or give away eggs for human consumption you must comply with the Victorian Food Act 1984 and the Primary Production and Processing Standard for Eggs and Egg Products (the standard).

As an egg producer, you need to understand how eggs can become contaminated and how to manage these hazards.

Never sell cracked and dirty eggs

Cracked and dirty eggs pose a significant threat to food safety and must not be sold or supplied for human consumption.

Make sure the eggs you collect from your birds are as clean as possible. You'll reduce the number of dirty eggs if you keep nesting materials clean by changing them often, and by having nesting boxes away from roosting areas in your shed.

Keep records of sales

Record-keeping helps with tracing the source of any outbreaks of foodborne illness such as Salmonellosis.

You must keep a record of your egg sales to:

  • businesses, such as local restaurants, cafes or stores
  • wholesalers or distributors
  • other producers.

Your evidence can be documents such as invoices, delivery dockets or diary entries that show when and how many eggs you sold to a particular business.

If you sell eggs directly to the public (for example, from your farm gate or at a market) you should keep a record of the sales including dates, quantities and place of sale.

If you sell another producer's eggs, make sure they're labelled with the producer's name and address or that you can identify from your records when and where these eggs were sold.

Sale of eggs at a market stall or similar location

If you sell eggs directly to the public from places other than your farm, such as a stall or at a market, you must:

  • register with your council to get permission
  • lodge a Food Act statement of trade with each council district in which you'll be operating to tell the council where and when you'll be trading.

See Food businesses on Health.vic for more information on egg safety and temporary businesses.

Requirements for food producers and market sellers

If you conduct more complex 'food business' activities such as the preparation of food intended for sale, you'll need to get permission to operate from your local council. These activities include:

  • pasteurising or heat treating egg pulp on site or
  • operating a cafe, bed and breakfast or other similar activity where you prepare food for sale on the farm

More food safety requirements apply to these activities.

More information

For information on your duty of care for backyard poultry, see Poultry health and welfare.

Page last updated: 27 Nov 2020